[kee-nel-uh, kwi-]
  1. a type of bet, especially on horse races, in which the bettor, in order to win, must select the first- and second-place finishers without specifying their order of finishing.
  2. a race in which such bets are made.
Also qui·nel·a, quiniela.
Compare exacta.

Origin of quinella

1940–45, Americanism; < American Spanish quiniela, equivalent to Spanish quin(a) (< French quine keno) + -iela noun suffix
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for quinella


  1. Australian and NZ a form of betting on a horse race in which the punter bets on selecting the first and second place-winners in any order

Word Origin for quinella

from American Spanish quiniela a game of chance
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for quinella

form of betting in which the bettor picks the first and second horses in a given race, 1942, American English, from American Spanish quiniela, originally a ball game with five players, from Latin quini "five each," from quinque "five" (see quinque-). The sense evolution in Spanish was said to be from the game to a wager on the scores of the players, hence "any wager against the house."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper